This week Head 4 Health participant Dean represented Wolves Foundation in the capital, as HRH The Duke of Cambridge helped launch this February’s Heads Up Weekends.
The Heads Up campaign is a joint initiative from The FA and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Heads Together charity, and is a season-long campaign to change the conversation on mental health.
The Heads Up Weekends, which are taking place on the 8th-9th and 15th-16th February, will see football unite by creating conversation around mental health, highlighting the power of talking as a way of supporting each other.
The initiative was launched this week, marking Time To Talk Day with a table football tournament spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge. On the day, clubs from all levels of the men’s and women’s game were represented, including Wolves.
In 2019, Dean reached out to Wolves Foundation via their Head 4 Health project and learnt more of other people’s stories and coping strategies during a six-week course, which has improved his mental wellbeing greatly.
Having retired early, Dean struggled to fill his time with healthy coping strategies but, since completing the course, has become a volunteer at Wolves Foundation open evenings, sharing his experiences and helping others.
Dean said: “What I liked about Head 4 Health is that it got the basics right. When I contacted the Foundation, I had a call back within hours and was on a course that started two weeks later. I have contacted multiple organisations about my mental health, trying to get help, and not one of them returned my call. Thankfully these guys did.
“It was fantastic to get the opportunity to share my story with everyone at the Heads Up event and I hope that it encourages someone else to talk about how they’re feeling and get help.”
Such was Dean’s progress, this week he joined Wolves Foundation health and wellbeing manager Rachel Smith, as well as football personalities including Andros Townsend, Tony Adams and Troy Deeney, for a table football tournament and mental health conversation at Heist Bank, London.
On the event, Rachel said: “As a Foundation, we were privileged to be invited down to the Heads Up Weekends launch and meet The Duke Of Cambridge. The day was a fantastic opportunity for Dean to share his story and Head 4 Health journey – an experience that he’ll never forget.”
Over the next two weekends, clubs across all levels of the game will feature Heads Up branding in their stadiums, programmes and kits, in a major unifying moment that aims to get the nation talking about mental health.
The Heads Up campaign is running across the entire 2019/20 season and aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health, working closely with charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance.
Ahead of the Heads Up Weekends, all football fans are being encouraged to visit HeadsTogether.org.uk/Heads-Up for tips on how to #KickOffAConversation about mental health.
Those wanting immediate support can also text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer – a service run by ‘Shout’ and powered by Crisis Text Line, which is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks.
Head 4 Health is a Premier League and Professional Footballers Association (PLPFA) funded project with part funding from City of Wolverhampton Council Public Health team and Wolverhampton CCG. It is a programme for men, 18+ to come and improve their mental wellbeing through a variety of informational workshops and physical activity sessions. For more information on the project and get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07532 411 166.